Sylvain Chauveau – Simple

Originally released in 2012 on the label 130701, Sylvain Chauveau’s Simple is now reissued as a remastered, first-ever vinyl edition. Chauveau has been a major player in the post-classical scene for years, dating further back than the likes of Nils Frahm or Max Richter, helping to shape, nurture, and prepare a scene and a specific sound right before it exploded in popularity.

Simple collects Chauveau’s out-of-print, rare, and unreleased works – all of which were composed specifically for cinema – from 1998 – 2010. As such, Simple has a dark and obscure feel to it, designed for scenes and reels of film which never saw the light of day, its imaginings stored in secret vaults.

Context is missing, and this adds a sliver of mystery to the record: what are we witnessing? What are we seeing? Fluttering, peripheral shadows and skittering electronics occupy most of the record, which still sounds fresh and relevant, and the notes are entangled and obscured in a dank, dark fog, further cementing Chauveau’s status as a somewhat unsung hero of the genre as well as an initiator of the sound.

Low drones and scuttling frequencies appear to be the polar opposite of a kind piano, which sprinkles its sweet sound over ‘Within the Orderly Life’, and warm strings also help to expand the record. A brilliant dexterity lives within Simple in spite of its tighter confines. It shifts between darker drones and dawn-lit strings, moving from radiant ambient interludes such as ‘Blanche Comme L’infini’ to the tender drama of ‘Strangers Forever’.

Chauveau places a good deal of importance on experimentation, but his pieces are wonderful constructions; light-filled celebrations and elegant, reflective musings on life. The screen brings drama to life, but a scene is nothing without music’s emotive power, which illumimates every frame, and Chauveau’s silver string arrangements belong to an unreleased black-and-white film from the 40’s or 50’s. Thankfully, it’s time for the final cut to be released.

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